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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 6/17/22

Guests: Alan Feuer, Renato Mariotti, Danya Perry


New York Times tracks Proud Boys movements on January 6 with detailed video analysis. The January 6 Committee reveals new evidence in the hearings.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Mehdi. Thank you very much.

And thanks to you at home for joining us. I am Ari Melber.

And today, "The New York Times" broke ground in the collective understanding of what happened on January 6th.

The Proud Boys paramilitary group were part of that crowd storming the Capitol. Capitol that day and all Trump had shouted them out before the election. But the way these groups achieved the grave, remarkable act of breaching the Capitol during that long scheduled national security event, that`s not been fully accounted for. That`s what we`re going to get into right now because this was, of course, one of the only days of the year that both houses of Congress have all their members gathered, along with the vice president. Many people tend to bring their families as well for that swearing in ceremony. And yet they got in.

The very first January 6th hearing broke the news that prior to Trump`s rally at the lips that day, those Proud Boys were actually casing the joint.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to be aware, to be advised, is probably about 300 Proud Boys, marching eastbound and it`s 400 block of Independence, actually, Mall, towards the United States Capitol.


MELBER: They went there 10:00 a.m. They were casing the layout of the Capitol, at various entry points. On Wednesday, we also learned about this nine-page document, strangely titled 1776 Returns, because it was filed in federal court by one of the Proud Boys and it shows their alleged December 2020 plan, including filling eight target buildings in the complex with their own foot soldiers and their protesters, whom they call patriots, laying a kind of siege where they could issue demands.

But even if they got in, why would they think they would be in a position to hold the building and make demands? Well, again, as the understanding has evolved, as more evidence has come in, they were hunting lawmakers. If they had taken a few hostages, potentially lawmakers, there could have been a standoff in that Capitol that could have lasted, there`s no way for law enforcement to end that without putting potential the hostage lives at further risk, if they found lawmakers, who we know from both the impeachment investigation and this week`s hearings, were fleeing in hiding and we see more detail and more surveillance footage about that.

But that kind of standoff would have helped further trigger the very certification delay that was part of Trump`s coup plan, that was laid out by John Eastman and Peter Navarro.

So, some things really are coming into view right here, right now. January 6th was chaotic, to be sure, some actions weren`t spontaneous in a crowd that large, of course. But the evidence tonight shows how these indicted crowd Proud Boys were distinct from the rest of the mob and leaving it with tactical objectives. And that`s thanks to a "New York Times" investigation that spanned months showing this level of coordination.

Now, this is significant, both because it adds evidence to the record, and it may also, in some ways, fortify the criminal cases against certain individuals. So, let`s go through some of this.

Here`s the footage of the very first breach on the sixth, before Trump speech had formally ended. And this was the first time rioters got past police, we showed that they had already made progress on their tactical plan, the Proud Boys and one of their leaders, Joe Biggs, conducting the strategy here to make that breach.


REPORTER: And what`s widely viewed as a tipping point, a protester named Ryan Samsel talks to Joe Biggs and immediately confronts the police. Biggs and other leaders were gone. Samsel later told the FBI that Biggs encouraged him to confront the police, something Biggs denies. As the crowd pushes forward, many of the Proud Boys join in. They start removing barricades. And urge others on.

The chain reaction has been set off. The attack on the Capitol has begun.


MELBER: That`s how the attack actually began.

Now, it`s been hard to sift through all this, because while some people showed up ready for battle, with here, with certain weapons, other Proud Boys, it turns out, were trained and coordinated for battle but took an extra step, on which you might call a kind of reversed camouflage, or just plain clothes camouflage. They dress like they might have been random protesters or even what might have looked to some like peaceful protesters. But that was, again, part of their tactical strategy. It`s what they call dressing as, quote, normies.


JOE BIGGS, A PROUD BOYS LEADER: This time -- and you know who it is when we say we -- by this time we are not going to be wearing the colors you are used to seeing this in. Nope. This time, myself and other leadership have decided we are going to go incognito.


We`re going to be blending in, weaving in and out and bleep like (EXPLETIVE DELETED) an old lady with some goddamn pens in her our hand, making the goddamn sweater. You ain`t going to know who (EXPLETIVE DELETED) standing beside you. It could be Antifa. It could be me.


MELBER: They sound dramatic, but you have to stitch that together with what really happened, their playbook, not random. Certainly not a protest.

A protest is protected free speech. This was people with alleged criminal intent and plans for violence, using to look with a rhetoric of political protest, as a means to infiltrate an attack, which is why this new painstaking video so important to understand what they were doing, riling up the crowd. In one of the key entry points, you can see them identified earlier in the day, so we have evidence from "The Times" which builds the case tonight.

You will see them push past police, removing the barriers in the crowds away including, at times, literal metal barricades. And attacking police, putting them on the offensive, with chemical spray, improvised weapons with shields. And then when they did meet some sturdy police resistance, as "The Times" showed, they would then back off, regroup and then find other key entry points that they had done we can to figure out where they had the best possible methods to breach.

You can see that making a second breach of the day on the east side of the Capitol.


REPORTER: For hours, hundreds of protesters had remained behind the barricades. But within minutes of the Proud Boys arriving, the police will be overrun. It`s there action again. One of those team antagonizes officers at the front, while another clears away barricades.

The momentum tips. The crowd easily breaks through the police line, and it sweeps through the next barrier as Proud Boys takedown fence after fence.


MELBER: "The Times" report there makes that important distinction that whatever one thinks of all those people -- because many more of them were willing to commit crimes and trespass -- they were waiting for hours around those gates, that sort of the order. But over and over again, the Proud Boys use these tactics to move and convert and mobilize.

They were five major advances where they played a critical role in breaching. "The Times" documents how they entered the Capitol from one direction, then they would go with another reach at another entry point. There were filling the Capitol with the people willing to do criminal trespassing, which is the opposite of patriotism. But of course, this is Orwellian rhetoric, but they call in their goal there, getting patriots in.

But the seeming chaos was not organic, it was engineered. Which addresses one of the questions that day, how even a large mob of even seemingly random people who don`t know each other would actually do something like breach the Capitol. Yes, they did outnumber police. Yes, parts of the Trump administration were unhelpful, to say the least, in protecting the Capitol. And we`ve done a lot of reporting on that and the potential accountability for that.

But again, as a factual matter, even with all, that it seems remarkable that people who were publicly summoned by Trump`s call to come to Washington would pull this off. They would seem to mostly be strangers. It was odd.

Well, this evidence is part of the answer, just as these three hearings had shown how the violence was directed and ran parallel to the illegal coup plot, which built on Trump`s public call it a presidential debate, infamously telling Proud Boys to stand by. The committee, separately showing how that, which was heard by hundreds of millions of, when you look at the TV ratings of those debates and how they played online around the world -- it helped the group energize and mobilize more people.

It`s also strange because Trump and some of his coup plotters are brazenly open about some of the parts in the plot to steal the election. Trump tried to order Pence to steal it in real time, in public. We witnessed that going into the sixth. Afterward, who have his most controversial aides, you see here, Navarro and Bannon, had admitted parts of the same plan but they also disclaim any effort to direct violence.

So you have confessions and misdirections all at once, which brings us to one thing that Trump is now claiming today in his first extended public remarks since these damning hearings have begun. Now he`s not claiming all the people storming the Capitol are, quote, special or full of love as he did before which is a kind of a tell because Trump does know TV and PR. That`s one thing he knows and he knows at a gut level that tens of millions of people have been watching at least part of the hearing so they`ve heard his aides family and lawyers recount a bunch of horrible crap that he did knowingly that he lied about.


And that kind of lie the lie about the election and the lies about what happened that day that`s not going to cut it right now, even Donald Trump knows that. So here`s what he did today. Didn`t talk about love and peace. He just said, quote, what happened on January 6 was a simple protest that got out of hand, end quote. And he also talked to pardons for the people who did the bad stuff on the sixth.

Now, this is Donald Trump`s version of meeting in a kind of middle ground but it matters because we`ve heard the same defense in public from Trump allies and especially over on Fox News. We`ve heard this defense in interviews on MSNBC.

That claim is false. "The Times" investigation, the video you just saw, the evidence in the hearing shows all of that, not something that just got out of hand. As the now indicted Proud Boys leader was in contact with convicted and pardoned Trump advisor Roger Stone that raises even larger questions, the two even joined forces and joined their own voices in addressing a rally days out from the insurrection, as the FBI continues to probe another and different person that may link the Proud Boys to Trump`s circle.

This is big news. With that in mind, we turn right now to Alan Feuer, the courts and criminal justice reporter for "The New York Times".

Thanks for being here.

ALAN FEUER, NEW YORK TIMES: Hey, Ari. How are you?

MELBER: I`m good. This was very painstaking work and told in a very gripping manner about something that matters. As I mentioned, this is the video and the videos we`ve seen and the testimony we`ve seen in the hearings have clearly put pressure on Donald Trump his defense sounds different. Given the import here, why don`t you -- if you could walk us through how you did this and anything else that you think is important journalistically factually people should know from your from your investigation?

FEUER: Sure. So we can start with the fact that for months, it`s been very clear that the Proud Boys played a central role in what happened on January 6th. The first conspiracy charges against the Proud Boys were brought in late January, you know, within weeks of the attack itself and since that time, there`s been a steady drum beat of indictments rolled out, culminating this month with a seditious conspiracy indictment against five members of the group, including its former leader Enrique Tarrio and, you know, four other, you know, top lieutenants and members.

That said, what hasn`t been as clear all along is the level of coordination and tactical maneuvering that took place on the ground, you know, amongst dozens of Proud Boy members on January 6th. And, you know, the reason that it`s taken this long is that essentially the attack on the Capitol was the largest digital crime scene in in like human history, right?

No one has ever documented a crime scene like January 6 was documented. You`re talking about social media videos. You`re talking about, you know, like press cameras, CCTV from the Capitol itself, body cameras from police officers, it`s just taken a long time to process and analyze and understand all of that video.

And so, what`s happened behind the scenes is an incredible community of open source intelligence researchers, private citizens have dedicated their time have left in some cases their day jobs to scour this video, to go through it minute by minute, second by second. People who have real detailed real-life understanding of the Proud Boys who can look at a video and see a guy with a hand tattoo and be like, I know that guy, I know that hand tattoo.

And so this community of scores of people have been working relentlessly for months. And essentially, we connected with them. They shared a lot of their findings with us and the times visual investigations team which is like non-parade these guys are amazing, you know, kind of like received a lot of this raw footage and information and the patterns that were discovered did a lot of work themselves vetted it all out of course checked it did further work and we`re able to put together this 17-minute video that that you guys are showing now.


MELBER: Do they successfully reach the Capitol without the Proud Boys?

FEUER: That`s a good question. I would say no. I would say the Proud Boys are integral to what happened on January 6.

You know, if you`re talking about um you know pre-planning, if you`re talking about, sort of like you know strategizing in advance, you know there`s a lot of questions about what the public evidence says on that. But if you just look at the on the ground visual evidence, just focus on what is known and what can be seen, it`s very clear that the Proud Boys were central, instrumental in all of these five breach points and advancements that you mentioned before.

MELBER: And then finally, Alan, I mentioned the reporting that`s going on, do you think it is likely that a link would then be drawn beyond Stone to other Trump officials knowing that this written plan that this premeditated plan was in the works or is your view that if that were true it would have come out by now?

FEUER: I would -- I would exercise a measure of caution about 1776 Returns. Let`s remember, this was released by the Proud Boys defense lawyers themselves. It was a plan adjacent to what happened on January but not exactly what happened and it was not a plan that was created by the Proud Boys. It was essentially given to Enrique Tarrio, the Proud Boy`s leader, by one of his girlfriends.

And what`s going to be interesting is to find out the authorship and the origins of that plan.

MELBER: Right.

FEUER: Right? And where it came from. And we will -- we will find that out.

MELBER: Okay. Well, there you go. Clearly, this is service journalism and as you mentioned, tapping both the resources "The New York Times" but also a lot of other people in fact checked communal way, which is interesting as well. So we appreciate both what you`re doing and learning about it.

Alan Feuer from "The New York Times", thank you.

We have a lot more to get to, including the details about how the threat to democracy from the 6th continues, and how to stop it.

Stay with us.



MELBER: We`ve now witnessed three hearings in this falling probe, two this week. I don`t know about you, but watching and reporting on all this it could feel like there`s so much new information that some of the evidence starts to run together and we have our whole team of anchors, reporters, our journalistic colleagues tracking it.

And as we`ve been sitting at that big table with Rachel, sometimes we go, was that new? Did Trump`s lawyer just say he thought they were committing crimes? What did Trump call Pence?

So just as this week`s coverage was led by our colleague Rachel Maddow, we have now put together something special for you right now. We hope it might even be useful. Some of the key factual moments that stand out and matter in all of this from the most recent hearings as well as Rachel`s coverage.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): This morning, we`ll tell the story of how Donald Trump lost an election and knew he lost an election and as a result of his loss decided to wage an attack on our democracy.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": President Trump claimed victory on election night even though his campaign had not concluded that he won.

JASON MILLER, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: I was saying that we should not go and declare victory until we had a better sense of the numbers.

BILL STEPIEN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It was far too early to be making any calls like that. Ballots -- ballots were still being counted.

MILLER: There are suggestions by -- I believe it was Mayor Giuliani to go and declare victory and say that we want it outright.

MADDOW: We heard that President Trump followed advice from a reportedly drunken Rudy Giuliani.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there anyone in that conversation who in your observation had had too much to drink?

MILLER: Mayor Giuliani. The mayor was definitely intoxicated.

WILLIAM BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: I told him that the stuff that his people were shuttling out to the public were (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I mean that the claims of fraud were (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and, you know, he was indignant about that. And they were idiotic claims. I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has, you know, lost contact with -- he`s become detached from reality.

MADDOW: Former President Trump`s false claims about supposed fraud in the election may not have just been his vehicle to try to overthrow the U.S. government. They may also have been a vehicle to line his own pockets.

AMANDA WICK, JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE STAFF: Between election day and January,. the Trump campaign sent millions of fundraising emails to Trump supporters they continued to barrage small-dollar donors with emails encouraging them to donate to something called the official election defense fund. The select committee discovered no such fund existed.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Not only was there the big lie, there was the big rip-off.

THOMPSON: The Constitution says that the vice president of the United States oversees the process of counting the Electoral College votes.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Today, we`re focusing on President Trump`s relentless effort to pressure Mike Pence, to refuse to count electoral votes on January 6th.

NICHOLAS LUNA, FORMER TRUMP PERSONAL ASSISTANT: I remember hearing the word wimp, either he called him a wimp. I remember he said, you are a wimp, you`ll be a wimp. Wimp is the word I remember.

MADDOW: A big portion of the hearing today was about how John Eastman Trump`s lawyer on this issue actually knew and admitted that this plot he and the president were pursuing was illegal.

GREG JACOB, LEGAL AIDE TO V.P. PENCE: When Mr. Eastman came in, he said, I`m here to request that you reject the electors. I said, John, if the vice president did what you were asking him to do, we would lose nine to nothing in the Supreme Court, wouldn`t we? I concluded by saying, John, in light of everything that we`ve discussed, can`t you we just both agree that this is a terrible idea?

ERIC HERSCHMANN, TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I said to him are you out of your f in mind now I`m going to give you the best free legal advice you`re ever getting in your life, get a great f`ing criminal defense lawyer. You`re going to need it.

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Dr. Eastman emailed Rudy Giuliani and requested that he be included on a list of potential recipients of a presidential pardon.

JACOB: So you would have had just an unprecedented constitutional jump ball situation with that standoff and as I expressed to him, that issue might well then have to be decided in the streets.

MADDOW: We finally got the connection between the illegality of their plot and the fact that there was violence.

HERSCHMANN: So you`re going to cause riots in the streets? And he said, worse to the effect of, there`s been violence in the history of our country, Eric, to protect the democracy or protect the republic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m hearing reports that Pence caved. No, I`m telling you, if Pence caved, we`re going to drive the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to the streets.


MADDOW: Investigators reported today that an informant inside the Proud Boys, the pro-Trump -- pro-Trump paramilitary group has told the FBI that in fact had the Proud Boys been able to find Mike Pence on January 6th, they did intend to kill him.


MELBER: And that is all just this week.

Now, beyond the past, as we look at the ongoing threat of democracy, well, I got to tell you, you have to find it in order to catch it and stop it. That story is next.



MELBER: Let`s take a little trip and a look at Otero Count, New Mexico. It`s in the southern part of the state, about five hours south of Albuquerque, proud home of the world`s largest pistachio, wow, which is some nice local trivia. But also brings us to a story that is nuts, with nutty election theories.

In terms of voting, Otero County has a bright red dot and a blue state. So Biden won all of New Mexico, you see there by double digits. But Trump carried Otero by nearly two to one margin.

Now, in New Mexico, the counties are responsible for administering their own elections. The county commission in charge, has three members. In Otero, all of them are Republican, including Couy Griffin.

Now, before his tenure in election administration, he was a rodeo cowboy. And these days, he has tried to meld those passions for his politics and the cowboy thing in Cowboys for Trump. But it`s gone beyond just politics and into, well, potentially supporting the storming of the Capitol where he was on January 6 and where he was charged with illegally entering the Capitol grounds and where he was convicted in March of that charge.

Today, Griffin was back in D.C. to get his sentence and he was given two weeks of jail and a hefty fine. As a side note, you will see that that seems quite lenient when you think about how many people are serving longer jail sentences for what are considered more personal crimes like say marijuana use or marijuana sales as compared to storming the Capitol pursuant to a larger insurrection.

But that`s not even why we`re getting into that, to that case. What we`re dealing with is the legal fallout not only from participating in the insurrection and navigating jail time but wielding power over other elections at the same time, which is to use a legal term pretty messed up.

Because this county commissioner from Otero has cooked up a new scheme now, not history, now, trying to wreak havoc on free and fair elections in that little corner of the state where they have some nominal authority. The Trump cowboy there and two other Republicans on the Otero commission basically defied the normal and lawful certification of the results of the primary that was held last week and then they did the usual thing. They didn`t have evidence or something because there might be times where you want to deal with you know something relating to certification, but they just sort of said words about voting machines and that they wanted to get to the bottom of it and thus they would not certify meantime.

Commissions legally required though to certify the election and the Supreme Court of the state has already now ordered them to fulfill their legal duties and certify the results by the deadline so they`re already losing in this particular instance the attorney general of the state threatening to also take separate legal action if they basically defy what is now that Supreme Court order of the state.


The legal deadline is today. The Trump cowboy commissioner was in Washington for the criminal sentencing. They left his seat open, dialed him in on speaker phone so he could announce that he was willing to face potentially another a new criminal prosecution and vote against certifying these results.

But when push came to shove, as the saying goes, the Trump cowboy was the only one willing to go out on that far of a limb. The other two Republicans having tried this gambit with someone that we know backs aspects of the January 6th insurrection, the other two caved because law matters, facts matter, and if courts actively oversee this and actively have prosecutors who are willing to create consequences -- well, suddenly, some of these people completely changed their tune. They voted to certify the results.

But this is a little scary, and after another week of January 6 hearings which are about January 6, 2021, it is vital to see how this stuff in one sense is being broken up, caught and prosecuted this is not a week to say nothing is working or happening. I just showed you some cases that are working and we see sedition cases and we see the Proud Boys busted and their organization busted up. But the threats to our democracy fomented by Trump are very much alive and they are not fully addressed by even the incremental process that we`ve been reporting for you. And Trump wasn`t the only one pushing the big lie. He had help. He had supporters and he has people who are now in charge formally of administering our elections in certain places. Many of those people have those jobs some are competing for more power.

And this is not about left and right this is not about ideology. This is not about saying that only one party should be involved in overseeing elections. Indeed, as long as there are elections between parties, you would ideally want honest members of both who uphold their oaths to democracy in the Constitution to be involved. This is about radicalism, authoritarianism and people who support dictators as long as they think it will benefit them.

So it`s a serious threat to the democracy and that brings us back to a very conservative judge, Michael Luttig, who I should note is not cheered on everything by everyone. If you want a little political context, Ted Cruz said Luttig was like a father to him. Take that for what you will.

And yet that is precisely why Luttig as a Pence advisor was on this issue, democracy or dictatorship, was that star witness at the January 6 hearing.


HON. J. MICHAEL LUTTIG, INFORMAL ADVISOR TO VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy. They would attempt to overturn that 2024 election in the same way that they attempted to overturn the 2020 election.

As we take it all together, we turn to former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. Thanks for being here tonight.


MELBER: We just walked through some of that. Your thoughts?

MARIOTTI: I have to say, one of the things that I thought was so important about the last hearing was seeing the pressure attempt on Pence and you have to think, Ari, that could happen again, and I think that Luttig`s warning was important because in addition to being concerned about a potential criminal prosecution, we need to be concerned about making sure that for example, we reform the Electoral Count Act and we build our institutions so that we never have anything that close to overturning our democracy again.

MELBER: When you look at the example at that local level, does it show that when both the courts and local or state law enforcement take this seriously. There is a deterrent. There is a corrective.

MARIOTTI: I think so but of course, we saw just earlier today, Donald Trump talking about pardon, and I think the reason he`s doing that is he wants to incentivize people to put themselves out of that limb, take that chance for authoritarianism because frankly, I think prosecution does deter, particularly in cases like this one.

MELBER: When you look at the hearing thus far, we have endeavored tonight in our in our prime coverage to take it together the three hearings and some of the takeaways. As a final question to you, what are your big takeaways where you think these three hearings have made important or new points not only for the country but for the Justice Department where Garland says he`s watching every hour of it?


MARIOTTI: I think the knowledge element is so important. Ari, you know as a lawyer how important it is to prove knowledge. It not only prove that Trump knew he had lost but really proving that John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, these lawyers themselves knew that these legal theories were wrong. I think they have greater liability than anybody here and I wouldn`t be surprised if the Justice Department takes aim at them first as a result.

MELBER: Yeah, really interesting especially coming from you, blunt and concise and clear, as we`ve come to expect.

Renato Mariotti, thank you, sir.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

MELBER: Appreciate it. Today, a top Donald Trump advisor who was in the White House during the January 6 plotting who had this plan to overthrow the election. That individual was back in a federal courtroom. Why and why are they under so much heat as we talk about accountability? I have a special report on that next.




PETER NAVARRO, FORMER TRUMP ADVISOR: I won`t have anything more to say in this brief. It`s up to him.

REPORTER: Wait. What`s your book about?

REPORTER: What`s your book about?

NAVARRO: "Taking Back Trump`s America" is a book about how we lost the White House in 2020 and how we`re going to win it back in 2024.

REPORTER: Weill you be writing about --

NAVARRO: And on the key thing about "Taking Back Trump`s America", on Amazon, by the way.


MELBER: On Amazon. Peter Navarro is the only Trump White House official who was in office in 2021 to have been indicted for anything related to January 6 for defying the House probe. He was there today with his lawyer trying to keep him from discussing the actual case against him but plugging his book moments after pleading not guilty to two counts of contempt of Congress.

Now the book talk came up inside the courtroom as well today, Mr. Navarro`s lawyers asked the judge to delay this trial because they say he has that book you saw mentioned there coming out and he`s got to promote it. They literally cite his, quote, extensive marketing campaign plans as a pitch for him to get even more time before his trial for these felony charges. They also argued separately they would need more time because of what they view as complex legal issues in the case.

Now, Navarro and his lawyers are entitled to make these arguments. Lawyers clash over trial schedules, but often, with better arguments than this. These were weak and the judge said so, not having any of it. Finding on record that quote it`s not that complicated the case.

Navarro losing the request for a delay. The trial is now set for November. It is a felony trial that goes forward completely separately from anything happening with the January 6 committee or the control of Congress because having been referred to the Justice Department, which doesn`t change at all in the midterms, no matter what happens, this thing would continue to go unless, Mr. Navarro and his lawyers prevail in some other victory in the procedural run-up to the trial, which as I show you today is unlikely.

Now, this January 6 probe has conducted effectively over a thousand interviews, but they have not broken through and sat down with two people close to Trump that you see here, Navarro and Bannon. White House insiders who are the only two Trump allies criminally charged for refusing to testify to this lawful probe.

Now Bannon at the time going into between November and January, he was a former aide. Navarro as mentioned is different he was one of the last most loyal Trump aides still working inside the White House in 2021, pushing a plan to steal the election. Which is why these witnesses are not just people who were close to Trump, they are people who have made partial concessions, partial admissions about trying to overturn the election. In fairness, some of them insist everything they thought they wanted to do was legal they disclaimed the violence as I mentioned earlier in our reporting.

The testimony though could be important to this probe. Put another way, the committee viewed them as potentially as important a witness as the Chief of Staff Meadows who you`ve seen in so many reports texting with everyone about the horrors of the 6th, they have thus held these two and Meadows and one other aid in contempt, a severe step that is just four out of a thousand as I mentioned.

Navarro is at least clearly a significant fact witness and perhaps more which would be bad for him. And as a fact witness, a witness, that`s why among others I have had him as a guest here on in on MSNBC for more than one interview, including in our most recent interview what turned out to be the night before he was indicted for the case that you saw him speaking on today. At that time, given the issues about whether there`s a reason to comply or a possible legal reason not to, I pressed him on this argument about privilege.


MELBER: Executive privilege does exist and can be litigated. The former president has not invoked it publicly or in writing for you. Can you answer once and for all --

NAVARRO: Okay, let`s take a look --


NAVARRO: -- Raskin, okay, can talk all he wants.


The president is not going to cooperate with a kangaroo committee.


MELBER: He has every right to offer his response, but the reality is that response shows what the judge said today. Privilege is not that complicated. Thus far, based on the public evidence, Mr. Navarro has no written or stated claim of privilege from the former president and thus very little to rest a privilege case on.

Now how does this all play out in court with the trial set?

We turn to Danya Perry, a former federal prosecutor and former deputy attorney general in the state of New York, as we look at some of the other individuals there family has testified these individuals defying and going to trial for it.

Thanks for being here.


MELBER: What do you think of what Mr. Navarro specifically would face here with the judge previewing the idea that it`s not that complicated?

PERRY: Yeah. Mr. Navarro has made it simple. He could have mucked it up he could have avoided indictment no doubt by doing the bare minimum, as Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino did. Instead, he decided that maybe to help him market his book, who knows, but to completely flout the validly issued congressional subpoenas, and just ignore them and assert this blanket claim of privilege without as you point out, the former president invoking it, and when other judges have already held that it doesn`t apply.

And as a matter of law all he had to do was go sit for his deposition and invoke privilege question after question, topic by topic. That alone could have avoided these two misdemeanor charges that he now faces.

So, it`s right. The judge is absolutely right, Ari. I couldn`t agree more. This is pretty simple, pretty cut and dry. Did he or did he not comply with these congressional subpoenas? A jury can decide but it seems pretty cut and dry.

MELBER: And the committee wants to speak with him for the same reason that we`ve seen the evidence they have throughout these hearings. There are people who have different reasons for what they`re involved in or why they`re -- why they`re touting it. But you take it together, you get end to end on the emails and end to end of the documents end to end on the meetings, and you start to build up what really happened, even on very high level calls like Trump to Pence, or how many people were in on what Navarro calls the sweep what many view as a legal a legal plot -- an illegal plot I mean to um to stage a coup.

What else do you think the committee would like to know from Mr. Navarro?

PERRY: Yeah. Both he and Steve Bannon could have shed a lot of light on both that Green Bay Sweep and there were other iterations of the plot to overthrow the election. As the committee has laid out, that it was a multi- pronged sort of hydra headed beast. And every time one avenue, or possible means to overthrow the election was cut down, two others would grow in its place.

And clearly as a person who was right in the middle of it for some time, along with Steve Bannon, he could have shed a lot of light on exactly as you say who was involved what they decided, what they knew, and in particular of course what his boss knew at the time.

MELBER: And then, finally, Mr. Bannon has led this sort of public revenge threat response and Navarro seems to be echoing that as well in that interview we showed he started talking about they`re going to get back in power and go after these public officials et cetera.

Does that in any way affect their looming trial? The DOJ, for example, trying to use that to limit further what comes into evidence with Bannon. Do you view that as basically out of court crap or could it actually affect the contours of the trials that they`re preparing for?

PERRY: You know, I think it may already have affected him. His indictment was sealed and he was arrested publicly, which is unusual for a misdemeanor case for a person who`s not otherwise a clear risk of flight or a danger to the community. And it may very well be -- I don`t know -- but it may be because the government believed that this is the person who doesn`t respect the rule of law.

And so, it may be that -- you know, it shows up in other ways and affects evidentiary rulings.


PERRY: And perhaps even a gag order. I mean that`s highly, highly unusual and the judge would have to make findings that he is either tampering with a jury pool or actually creating some kind of threat.


MELBER: Right. And to your point --

PERRY: But he`s out there and who knows --

MELBER: I mean, to your point on the recent court history, they did get a judge at the pre-arraignment stage to approve what you`re calling that more aggressive type of arrest on the finding that there was a risk of evidence tampering.

Danya Perry, good to see you. Have a good weekend. We`ll be right back.


MELBER: That does it for me tonight. You can find on Monday at 6:00 Eastern, or online at, where I discuss the January 6 probe with some MSNBC viewers. You type my name,, that`s the best way to connect with me online or on social media if you`re into that sort of thing.

And one reminder, Rachel will be back here on Monday night. So, she`ll see you then.

Now, we turn to "THE LAST WORD" word with Jonathan Capehart in for our friend, Lawrence.

Hi, Jonathan.